Uncategorized

Long weekends and light lunches πŸ’›Fully loaded Hummus πŸ’› Mediterranean style.

Excuse the whole plantbased diet / hummus cliche… But I do love hummus. And it’s many flavours, varieties and accompaniments. It’s just an easy little go to kind of meal or snack. It can be made as plain and simple as you like or really pack a punch . I love how more varieties of hummus are becoming main stream too. Being made with different beans and pulses. Not just your classic chick pea any more… Not that my love of chickpeas will ever wane mind, let’s just get that clear.

Love the new trend with dessert hummus too – (watch this space for a post in the next few weeks on dessert hummus three ways). For those of us with a sweet tooth I very much advise you trying these satisfying little numbers.

But this post is about making it into it’s own meal. Or at the least its own course. I love this idea and I play with lots of different mixes of veggies too, not just a Mediterranean mix. But I have to say this one seems to be the one I keep pulling back too. I also love hummus as a side to chunky chips (fries). You all know my affinity with anything potato based…And chunky chips and hummus are a match made in heaven for a lazy night in front of the TV. I occasionally swap it out for sweet potato chips and a red pepper hummus. Hmmmm. I’m making myself hungry now.

This post is more of a suggestion than a recipe really, a blue print to add and mix how you want πŸ’› the suggestions are somewhat endless.

I really like this warm and served with some form or warmed bread. But it’s still good at room temperature too.

This recipe makes two of the bowls above. But doubling this recipe for a platter is also a good shout.

Recipe:

Half a Fennel Bulb

1 Red Pepper

Handful of Grape Tomatoes

1/2 Courgette / Zuccini

^^ roughly the same amount of Aubergine / Egg plant

Olive Oil

A good pinch of Herb de Provence

Salt.

1 Tub of your favourite Hummus or one batch of home made.

Optional : fresh herbs or pesto.

Serve with any : Pita, crackers, Kulcha, Naan, Chips.

Preheat the oven to 400Β°. Chop your veggies and toss in oil, herbs and salt.

Roast for 25 minutes.

Serve on top of your desired amount of hummus while still warm. And top with either herbs or pesto.

Now go ahead and dig in!

Lunch · Picnic

Sunny days and pool side snacks. Mango Mint Salsa.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You know summer is on the way when the heat kicks in and the only thing you can think of eating is cold or sweet. Or preferably a combination of the two… I mean it’s a match made in heaven for those long hot days. Specially when you’re lounging poolside and you just want something fresh and refreshing, a light snack that you can throw together lazily. Well this little beauty hits every nail on the head. It’s so summery and pretty and inviting. I adore the flavours and the colours in this sexy little dip. It even looks like summer.

Mango and mint are a beautiful combination that always bring a tropical vibe. And adding the sweet hit of mango to usually savoury salsa just tastes like you’re on holiday. I really adore this dip and it’s become a quick little go-to for snacks and lunch. I’ve been tending to pair it with various chips or crackers and eaten it as a dip. But I can also see this lending itself as a side dish for other meals too.

It’s quick, easy, fresh and fruity. (No sarcastic comments please). And all the ingredients can be grabbed at the Farmers market (another win).

By the way have you seen the gorgeous mixed colour peppers about at the moment. I’m in love. Complete vegetable photo fetish kicking in again…

This recipe I use to serve 2. But as you can see, it’s very easily multiplied if you’ve got a tribe wanting a nibble! It also keeps well in the fridge for a day so you can snack later too.

Recipe :

2 Mangos – I used rather large Champagne mangos (alfonso)

1/2 Red onion

1 Red Pepper

Pinch of salt

A few springs of mint chopped

1 Lime

Dice Mango, onion and pepper to similar sizes. Pop in a bowl and mix in salt, mint and the zest of the lime with a few drops of lime juice. Give everything a quick mix and leave tho sit for a few minutes to marry together.

Serve with your favourite chips or crackers or pita πŸ™‚

Enjoy!

Baking · Dessert

Sweet little bites of Spring πŸ’š Lemon Thyme Shortbread.

Growing up, I never got the deal with shortbread. I always went for something multicolored or chocolatey. Thought shortbread just seemed a bit dull. But as I’m getting older (I’m sure one day I’ll also get wiser) I appreciate the sweet elegant simplicity of shortbread. That crispy crunchy melt in mouth combination, I have to confess. I’m now completely hooked. I love how easy it is to throw together too. And it always goes down a treat at coffee morning with the girls πŸ’š

I love lemon and thyme as a flavour combination. The two are a match made in heaven. This perfectly simple, yet perfectly stunning little recipe is a good one to have at hand. And seems to tie perfectly with sunny days and spring time.

Any excuse to get me out and in to the herb garden. Those around me know I’m happiest with dirty feet and grubby knees. Thyme loves the spring and I adore the little flowers it gives.

This is my basic shortbead recipe, but I do tend to mix other flavours with different season. A few others to try are Lemon and Lavender or Orange drizzled with dark chocolate.

Recipe :

1/2 Cup Earth Balance softened

1/4 Cup Organic granulated Sugar

1 Tbs Icing Sugar (confectioners)

1Tbs Fresh Thyme

Zest of 1 Large Lemon

1tbs Lemon Juice

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Flour

1 Tbs Cornflour (corn starch)

More sugar for dusting.

Preheat oven to 350Β°.

Pop soft Earthbalance into a bowl and beat in the two sugars. Add the Thyme , lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and beat again. Sift the flour and corn flour together and slowly incorporate the flour into the butter mixture in two or three goes.

When it all comes to a dough pop between two sheets of baking paper or parchment and roll to about 1/4″ thick.

Transfer parchment onto a baking sheet and score into the shapes you like. I usually go with squares or rectangles. At this point give the shortbread a good dusting with granulated sugar.

Pop them into the oven for 12-15 minutes. Until golden around the edges. Leave to cool a little before cutting again and leave to cool compelelety before serving.

Breakfast · Dessert · In the Garden · Lunch

Spring is officially under way πŸ‘ Peach and Blueberry Season and the many things we love to make with them.

I love spring πŸ’š I love when everything starts to shoot up. The garden looks beautiful, flowers popping with colour, herbs are enormous and the Peach tree is in bloom. Not much more could make me happier. Until I discovered all of this on a much grander scale.

One of the best parts of living over in Clermont is being surrounded by the various farms, orchards and groves we have here. Every where you turn you can spot citrus groves here. But two of the lesser know orchards near me grow Blueberries and Peaches. And oh how stunning they are.

Honestly. I could wander round these farms all day snapping various photos. And the fruit is second to none. April and May are the season for them, and I like to go a few times to stock up.

The peaches here are a much smaller variety, but they hold their own on flavour. Love wandering around with my little bucket picking to my hearts content. If you’ve never been fruit picking or been to a real orchard I’d highly recommend. Its surprisingly therapeutic.

Having filled our little buckets off home for some delicious snacks for the week.

If you’ve been reading a while you’ll know my obsession with cooking things together that have the same growing season. That age old saying of “if it grows together it goes together” does ring true. And Peach and blueberries are a little match made in heaven.

And here are some ideas I’ve put together over the years with this beautiful flavour combination.

https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2017/08/21/lazy-sunday-night-in-at-its-best-πŸ’›-peach-and-blueberry-crumble/

And let’s not forget our breakfast options either :

https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2016/05/23/seriously-seedy-grain-free-porridge/

Or more recently some smoothie options πŸ’›

I adore this smoothie. And it’s been my goto lunch lately. Love a quick blast from a blender and lunch being served.

This recipe makes 2 smoothie bowls.

Recipe :

4 Little Peaches

2 Bananas

1 Cup Frozen Mango

Almond milk

Add everything to the blender and almond milk to desired consistency, I like smoothies thicker in a bowl but thinner in a glass. Go figure that one out…

Top happily with a good handful of blueberries and granola and any seeds you’d like πŸ’›

Don’t forget our Peach and Blueberry Pie recipe on page 70 of the book.

I hope you’re enjoying spring and all of the flavours it brings as much as I am.

Sending you love from The Little Blue Garden.

Enjoy !!

Dinner · Lunch

Warm Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad with Harissa, Rose and Dukkah πŸ’š

Every one knows I love a good market. They’re just one of my all time favourite things to do. And my local farmers market – good old Winter Garden always makes me smile. I love this Market. And most weeks when I get chance to pop up I stock up on these beautiful multi coloured carrots. I’ve made a few different things with these stunning little beauties. One of my other recipes being my sticky orange carrots.

Following on from this week’s inspiration with spice blends and flavour combinations, I’m heavily into dusting everything with Dukkah. Have you tried this magical little blend? The blend I’ve been using contains, roasted chickpeas, roasted sunflower seeds, black onion seeds, paprika, fennel seeds, halen monk, sea salt and black pepper. And it’s slowly becoming the love of my life. Honestly. Sprinkle this on anything and it just tastes magic. It’s a middle eastern inspired flavour combination and I’ve found adding it with rose to liven up basic recipes has been a huge hit. And it really is the star of the show in this recipe, but works in so many ways. I’ve been popping it on hummus, flat breads, sweet potato mash, salads and haven’t found anything it didn’t really work with.. You might have guessed by now I’m really a fan. ***tries to stop gushing***.

Anyway back to the recipe.

Love a good warm filling kind of salad. In fact it sometimes feels a little odd calling it a salad.. But this bowl full has a lot flavour, and looks stunning to boot. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. You all know my love of every thing sweet and spicy, the combination of Rose, Harissa and the final dusting of Dukkah make this a lovely little treat, and they do all of the work for you. This meal is a real doddle to throw together!

Recipe:

1 Bunch of Rainbow Carrots

1 Tbs Olive oil

1 Cup Quinoa

2 Cups Cavelo Nero

1/3 Cup dried Cranberries

Dressing :

1 Tbs Olive oil

1/2 Tsp Harissa (more if you prefer heat)

Salt

1 Tsp Rose Water

1 Tsp Hummus

To serve :

Hummus and Dukkah – optional edible rose petals.

Pop the oven on 400Β°. Peel and slice the carrot lengthways into quarters. Coat them in olive oil and a good pinch of salt and roast for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. And chop the kale.

To make the dressing, add every thing to a jar and give a really good shake until well incorporated.

Once everything is cooked, toss the quinoa in the dressing, add the cranberries and kale. Plate up with a good serving of hummus and top with the beautifully roasted carrots. Give everything that final adornment of Dukkah and rose petals and you’re ready to go ❀.

Uncategorized

A trip out if town and lots of new recipe inspiration πŸ’›

So guess who’s been off on her travels again? This time to the Big 🍎. New York. One of my all time favourite cities. I love that town. Something about it always feels like home.

Food there is insane, and is very much part of the fast paced, high demand culture that helps define this busy city. From street food (those warm nuts though 😍) to pizza on each corner, to Amish Markets all the way to silver service A la Carte menus. This city has it all.

With lots of eating out and new markets I’ve had some serious recipe inspiration and I’m buzzing with excitement to play with some new flavours. This is what I found at Grand Central Market. This amazing little gem of a spice market. The smell was incredible and they had tea all along the other side! Swoon ❀ so after collecting more spice packets and teas and flavoured sugars than I would care to admit, off I wandered through the rest of Grand Central with a huge smile on my face and a spring in my step. (And my mouth full of delicious warm cashews).

How can you not fall in love?

Having had some beautiful plant based meals around the city. Packing lots of flavour combinations with lots of different grains and seeds and fresh organic breads πŸ’› . I love how plant based meals are becoming more and more main stream along with organic and shop local themes. These things are all so close to my heart, and it’s important to me to not only know what I’m eating, but where it’s come from. I’m so grateful to see these movements on the rise. (Ok I’ll stop talking now – you might have guessed I’m rather passionate about these things).

But yess. Deliciousness please.

Keep an eye out for new recipes coming soon combining all elements from my trip πŸ’š

In the Garden · Lunch · Picnic

Edible Blooms and how to use them. πŸ’›Spring is on the way πŸ’›

I don’t know about you. But I am all set for light nights, longer days and some warmth πŸ’› I feel like Florida really attempted to have a winter this year. May I just say, that is not why I moved here… I did not sign up for this. Sunshine State. Come on. Sort it out. But now that the clocks have changed and it’s not dark by dinner time I feel we are finally getting somewhere. And Spring is on its way πŸ’› my favorite time of year.

To celebrate this beautiful shift of the seasons, I’ve been back in the garden making it beautiful and focusing my attention on edible blooms. Those who know me know I love adding flowers to anything and everything. And have a penchant for drying flowers out too… (I’ve been questioned several times as to why I keep bouquets after they have died). And so edible flowers with flavours and colours are just my idea of heaven. It’s been a little ridiculous to be fair. I’m putting them here there and everywhere and it makes me so happy πŸ’›

The edible blooms I’ve been growing and buying (thank you The Farmacy) are Pansy, Marigold, Lavender, Nasturtium and Society Garlic. They just make everything look so inviting and pretty. And have been so easy to grow and enjoy. I hope you love them as much as I do. Most -bar the garlic have a mild, sometimes a little peppery flavour just like a salad leaf.

Just remember you can’t just start munching any flowers from the garden section, they need to be organic, not sprayed with chemicals and fertilizers. Which is why it’s best to try an grow your own πŸ’›

Recipe above : Spring time salad with edible flowers.

This made two bowls :

1 Large head of Romaine

1 Slice of Watermelon diced

1/2 Bell Pepper sliced

1 Cup Mandarin segments

1 Cup Peas ( I used frozen – defrosted)

A few springs of mint – separated.

Assorted edible flowers

Dressing:

Juice of a lemon

2-3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive oil

A few sprigs of mint.

Pinch of salt.

Give everything fresh a good wash and pop all ingredients into a bowl.

For the dressing I like to give the mint leaves a good squash with a pestle and mortar just to relased some of the oils, then add lemon juice and oil. Give a good mix together and fish the rather beaten up mint back out. Season to taste and lightly dress the salad.

Another of my favourites lately is to pop the more herb like flowers into flavoured waters or lemonades. Lemon Lavender and mint is a sound favourite currently. πŸ’›

Or you know Cupcakes are never a bad move. So pretty. So natural πŸ’› Recipe coming soon for PB&J Cupcakes.

And finally I made this last weekend it’s an old faithful from the blog. Find the recipe here…

https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2017/03/01/some-days-you-just-need-a-cake-and-cuppa-butternut-squash-and-raisin-cake-with-orange-and-vanilla-bean-frosting/

I just think cakes decorated with real beautiful flowers are one of my all time favourite things. Just naturally stunning with no added artificial colours or flavours. I’m just in love with my little Nasturtiums. I urge you to give these little beauties a try, go outside and get growing. I promise you a garden is a gift that just keeps giving πŸ’›.